PECASE Winner Colleen Mouw in D.C. This Week
Colleen Mouw (GMES) double-checked to make sure the email wasn't spam. Who gets a personalized message from the White House anyway? The correspondence was indeed real—and an early step to Mouw winning one of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) this spring.
Mouw has helped bring oceanography to the Great Lakes, for which NASA nominated her for the PECASE Award. She will be in Washington, D.C. this week for the reception.
Specializing in remote sensing, Mouw, is an assistant professor of oceanography and a scientist in the Great Lakes Research Center. Mouw's work focuses on the big picture of some of the world's smallest life forms.
"I've done quite a bit of work determining phytoplankton functional types from space," she says, explaining different photosynthesizing free-floating plants that make up the bottom of the food chain produce nearly half of the world's oxygen and affect global carbon and nutrient cycles.
Paula Bontempi is the NASA program manager who nominated Mouw for PECASE. She says Mouw's contributions to oceanography—from research on ocean plants in the Bering Sea to public health issues in Wisconsin lakes—reflect her ability to link water, land and atmosphere in a complex, changing climate.
By connecting the world's smallest and largest scales, Mouw hopes to help grow understanding of how aquatic ecosystems are responding to environmental change and what this means for water resources that people rely on in the Great Lakes and around the globe.
You can read more about her research.